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Shipping two bicycle cases from Venice to Dubrovnik

Old 12-22-15, 10:07 PM
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Shipping two bicycle cases from Venice to Dubrovnik

Our biggest plan for 2016 is a self-guided tour down the Croatian coast. We are spending a few days in Venice first and hope to be able to ship our cases to our final destination in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Has anyone had experience shipping bicycle cases out of Italy across international borders? Should we expect any issues if we are allowing 19 days for the cases to arrive at our last stay in Dubrovnik? Thanks in advance for any insight or advice you might have on this endeavor.
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Old 12-22-15, 10:24 PM
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When sending just about anything across international borders, the country it's leaving rarely cares, and any delays will be from the country it's entering. So don't sweat the Italians, but worry about the Croatian customs people 30 yards down the pike.

You didn't say how you were getting from Venice to Dubrovnic, or whether that's the start or end of you Croatian tour, but far and away the simplest is to travel with the bikes. Otherwise I'm sure one of the UPS style carriers operating there can handle it.

You might staty by phoning UPS here in the USA and asking about that kind of move, and if they can handle it, you have a plan, or a Plan B to try to improve on.

BTW- I don't see why you don't just ride the entire trip. It's about 850 km and so easily done in 19 days, and would be a great tour. I know that the section from Venice to Trieste is very nice, but I've never gone past Trieste.
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Old 12-22-15, 11:25 PM
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Good suggestion, I have sent a message to FedEx near the Marco Polo airport. We were hoping to assemble our bikes at FedEx terminal, get the cases shipped unboxed, and ride to our accommodations in Venice. Then after a couple days in Venice we are rolling the bikes onto the train to Trieste. Our actual tour will start from Trieste. We are limiting ourselves to only about 35-40Km per day. Yeah, I know that is nothing to many of the members of this forum, but our range is determined by the slowest person, and I know from a trip to Tuscany in 2014, that is about what we are looking at. We will be doing plenty of sightseeing! We are spending about half the days in Istria, and half the days island hopping from Split to Dubrovnik. I plan on renting a car in Pula and leap frogging to Split where we will take the ferries to Brac, Hvar, and Korcula, then back to the mainland to Dubrovnik. I gather this section is very very popular, so I am hoping by going before mid June will be tolerable. Thanks FB,
Gearloose


Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
When sending just about anything across international borders, the country it's leaving rarely cares, and any delays will be from the country it's entering. So don't sweat the Italians, but worry about the Croatian customs people 30 yards down the pike.

You didn't say how you were getting from Venice to Dubrovnic, or whether that's the start or end of you Croatian tour, but far and away the simplest is to travel with the bikes. Otherwise I'm sure one of the UPS style carriers operating there can handle it.

You might staty by phoning UPS here in the USA and asking about that kind of move, and if they can handle it, you have a plan, or a Plan B to try to improve on.

BTW- I don't see why you don't just ride the entire trip. It's about 850 km and so easily done in 19 days, and would be a great tour. I know that the section from Venice to Trieste is very nice, but I've never gone past Trieste.

Last edited by Gyro_T; 12-23-15 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 12-22-15, 11:41 PM
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Now I understand the plan better. One thing you'll find is that empty bike cases will cost almost as much to ship as full ones because low density stuff is charged based on cube rather than weight (large packages are charged by the cube or weight whichever is higher based of a formula).

I have no idea if it's even possible, but if you're buying hard cases, you might try getting one slightly smaller, so it can be shipped inside the larger one, saving you considerably. Then other option to explore is whether you can send the boxes forward by rail to be picked up at the Dubrovnic station.
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Old 12-23-15, 12:16 PM
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We own the Co-Motion semi-rigid soft cases. You might be amused to hear what FedEx Italy had to say. I informed them the dimensions were 26 X 26 X 10 inches. The empty case is about 17 pounds. Just in case I converted to metric and added a little weight for some tools I will be leaving in the case. The customer service person said that based on a case that is 66 cm X 66 cm X 20 cm, and 9 kilos the "volumetric weight" would be about 50 kgs, and the cost would be approximately 1696 € !!!
I am really hoping there is a decimal out of place!!! I will let you know what they say.

If that is really the price, we will be flying back to Venice from Dubrovnik with our bikes wrapped up, and retrieving our cases at the home stay we will use not far from the airport.
This trip turns out to be a little more complicated to plan that Tuscany in 2014! I think it will get easier!?!
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Old 12-23-15, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Gyro_T View Post

If that is really the price, we will be flying back to Venice from Dubrovnik with our bikes wrapped up, and retrieving our cases at the home stay we will use not far from the airport.
This trip turns out to be a little more complicated to plan that Tuscany in 2014! I think it will get easier!?!
Because the cost of transport is so high, and problems shipping the empty cases, I arrange all my overseas travel either to start and end at the same airport, with a prearranged place to store empties, or I take a bike I'm willing to part with, packed in cardboard, do my trip and sell it at the end for a loss. All things considered, the total cost, including the loss, is less than the expenses related to overseas logistics.

Another option for you is to find out if you can get suitable boxes in Dubrovnic, fly with bikes packed in cardboard, ride to Dubrovnic, and buy/scrounge boxes to come home.

You have time, so try to think out of the box (no pun) and see if you can come up with a creative plan that'll come in at a decent cost.
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Old 12-23-15, 04:19 PM
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I have always toured with cardboard Boxes I abandoned at airports , on arrival, and always had a roll of clear packing tape with me ..


Bought more just before departure , to make up longer boxes out of smaller ones ..

Riding up to the KLM desk at Shiphol I'd just buy one..
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Old 12-23-15, 06:51 PM
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I was curious about your odds of finding a bike box in Dubrovnik, and came across this which you might find useful.
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Old 12-24-15, 12:54 AM
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That was helpful, thanks. If we take the flight from Dubrovnik to Venice with the bikes, we may just tape and wrap for the short trip. Here are the instructions from the Volotea website that runs the puddle jumper to Venice.
Once you have added the service to your booking, we recommend that you:
  • Lower the seat.
  • Tape the pedals down with adhesive tape.
  • Remove the front wheel and attach it to the bicycle using adhesive tape.
  • Place the handlebars such that they are aligned in the direction of the bicycle and tape them down with adhesive tape.
  • Remove the air from the tires.
  • Cover the most delicate parts of the bicycle such as the gears, pedals, etc. with protective plastic.
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Old 12-24-15, 05:08 AM
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When packing a bike in a cardboard box I even unscrew the rear derailleur, wrap it in a plastic bag and tape it to the chainstay.
This lessens the risk of the drop out being bent in transit.
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Old 12-24-15, 12:29 PM
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I got a confirmation from FedEx customer service that was in fact the correct cost estimate. She suggested I get an account and presumably it would help some, but how much could it help? A factor of 10 would help! So we will pack the bikes in a temporary fashion and get back to Venice at our last nights stay to put them in the cases. Just have to make arrangements through our guesthouse there.
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Old 12-24-15, 12:58 PM
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This is one of the benefits of well padded soft cases. Once you arrive at the initial destination they can be rolled up and packed into a relatively small box and forwarded to someplace near your departure point.

I don't know what's out there these days, but BITD, a friend of mine who was a public speaker and went everywhere by bike had a custom case sewn out of cordura, with internal pockets filled with bladders which he could pump up as extra pads in critical places.

He'd take the wheels, handledars, seat and pedals off and tie them securely, slip the bike into the case, pump up his pads, and be good to go. At his destination, he'd put the bike together, deflate and roll up the case and tie it to his rack, and ride out of the airport.

Back then there were no specific rules or surcharges related to bicycles, so he was able to take it along for free.
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Old 12-24-15, 01:27 PM
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We did a similar type of trip a couple of years ago when we did a tandem tour from the Netherlands to Germany. The problem is that your shipment is not new merchandise and must clear customs for the second country. Normal shipping companies like UPS won't ship this way as far as we could find, because it's more of a courier operation to do that.

We used LuggageForward.com with good results. They picked up the two S&S cases from our hotel in Amsterdam and delivered them a few days later to our hotel in Baden Baden, after clearing customs. We let our end hotel know that the luggage would be coming, and they stored them for a few days before we arrived. LuggageForward emailed us when the cases were delivered to our hotel.

It was fairly pricey (around $300) but let us do our tour without taking a similarly priced train ride back and costing a day of the trip hustling the tandem and panniers on and off trains.

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Old 12-24-15, 01:32 PM
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In Packing bikes for shipping consider unscrewing the RD from the frame . and Zip tying it to the wheel or frame ..

your RD hanger will have much less chance if getting bent that way..
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Old 12-25-15, 12:23 AM
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That is great information. I will check into that because I would feel much better if they were packed in the S&S cases even for that short flight back to Venice.

Originally Posted by Mark W View Post
We did a similar type of trip a couple of years ago when we did a tandem tour from the Netherlands to Germany. The problem is that your shipment is not new merchandise and must clear customs for the second country. Normal shipping companies like UPS won't ship this way as far as we could find, because it's more of a courier operation to do that.

We used LuggageForward.com with good results. They picked up the two S&S cases from our hotel in Amsterdam and delivered them a few days later to our hotel in Baden Baden, after clearing customs. We let our end hotel know that the luggage would be coming, and they stored them for a few days before we arrived. LuggageForward emailed us when the cases were delivered to our hotel.

It was fairly pricey (around $300) but let us do our tour without taking a similarly priced train ride back and costing a day of the trip hustling the tandem and panniers on and off trains.

Mark W
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Old 01-17-16, 11:11 PM
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Our solution for this problem was a flight on Volotea airlines out of Dubrovnik. The fair was quite cheap and the charge to carry the bikes to Venice was $65 each!
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